Tag Archives: Friends

Australia, Returning to Melbourne – friends, food, art, theatre and one of the loveliest cities around

As Melbourne feels like home to me have decided to just do one large blog on this three week visit., Will be back to more frequent blogs once I am in new places again later in March.

MELBOURNE – the place.

Still one of the loveliest cities. Never tire of wandering the lanes and cafes and always find new ones just when I think I have tried them all. Only downside at the moment is that a lot of central Melbourne seems to be under construction as they are building an extended subway system. Lots of very large holes in the ground.

Nice to finally see the scaffolding off Flinders Street Station though

FOOD

Always one of my favourite reasons to be in Melbourne – and that includes drinks too of course. It is the city of cool bars – many are hidden speakeasys or rooftop sites. Here is the kind of thing you can expect here including some home cooking if you have nice friends who entertain you (thanks Mike and Maria)

ART

As usual I had to visit the NGV – not just once but twice. I loved this exhibit of dogs as fashion models.

And some examples of the more modern permanent collection,

but the best thing was the Escher X Nendo exhibit. M C Escher is a Dutch graphic artist who makes most of his drawings using woodcuts and lithographs – quite amazing the detail and colourations he can create through this medium. My woodcuts at school never looked like this! Then to make it even more interesting the exhibit is displayed in an environment created by Japanese Design studio – Nendo – just brilliant. And watch how Escher plays with perspective and you mind with some of his works. Where does one bit start and another begin? And how do this birds turn into fish?

A visit to the Melbourne museum included a look at the Mandela – my life exhibit just before it closes. It was done very well and it remains shocking to read and watch videos about how people were treated under apartheid so recently.

Then a trip to Heide to see the Mirka Mora exhibit of dolls – drawings and stuffed ones. I am a huge fan of Heide and always like what they show – Mora was a prolific artist who spent a lot of time at Heide as an exile from Paris. She died last year. I like her naive style.

THEATRE

I saw some wonderful shows in Melbourne this trip – Miriam Margolyes in Woman in the Van; MSO doing the Beatles at Hamer Hall; Eddie Izzzard at The Arts Centre; Macbeth in the Botanical Gardens; Evita with Tina Arena and my favourite – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It must be the magic……

FRIENDS

Always the best bit of coming back to a place after some time away. Catching up with my pals has been amazing – many of my friends I made during the time I worked at ANZ here for 10 years and it is fantastic that we are still buddies. Some I’ve even known since my HSBC days and it was also really special to have a few drinks with my former HR team from ANZ – so exciting to see them all and already looking forward to doing the same thing next year.

And BIG HUGE THANKS to the lovely Tania and Shane for opening their home to me and putting up with my comings and goings. They are the GREATEST xxxooo

Singapore- a brief visit

So nice to be in Singapore for pleasure rather than business for a change. I had the opportunity to work here for two months about 5 years ago and always love to visit as it is such an easy place to get around and it was fun to enjoy nightly fireworks for Chinese New Year – year of the Piggy 🐷

This time I stayed at the JW Marriott, South Beach which was nothing like a typical Marriott but a much more funky and psychedelic place than I’m used to but which I really liked – see below. Also a great gin bar, great views and fab swimming pools. Will stay again

I spent time walking around Kampung Glam and Arab Street

And hanging around looking at the modern architecture

even my bank has great local contemporary art

And visited the National Museum of Singapore – quite interesting and lovely building

Best of all I got to catch up with old friends – Mel, Anouk, and Danny, Chandrani and Vishal, Rona and John, Pippa, Sreeram and June.

UK – I’m in the country part 2 and a shout out to all my friends and family who made my visit back so memorable. Last post from the UK.

Another long weekend in the country. First stop with Lorna and Sylvie was Cambridge. We visited Kettle’s Yard – a lovely house in the centre of town with an eclectic art and natural wonders collection. Really nicely put together and timed tickets so limited numbers allowed in at the same time – free though:). Yes that is a Lowry – the guy who owned this place – Mr Ede – was well connected but he chose to not include any labels so people could enjoy the home rather than focussing on the names.

After lunch we walked through Cambridge with Sylvie (who lives nearby and went to university there) as our guide. Such gorgeous buildings and so many famous alumni. Cambridge is well known for its science faculty in particular and it is where Crick and Watson discovered the genetic code (or the meaning of life as they liked to put it). In true British fashion on making this discovery they repaired to the local pub for a pint to celebrate – a blue plaque marks the spot!

Then to finish off the day it was a quick look around the Fitzwilliam Museum which has an impressive collection of middle European art and is housed once again in a fab building. We finished off with drinks and then dinner (with another friend Miriam) at Parker’s Tavern.

Then a long overdue visit to Mayfield in East Sussex to visit my lovely friends Barbara, Reuben and Claire (surprise for me as thought she wasn’t coming out) and not forgetting Billy Whizz (the schnauzer). Being Barbara our first stop was the local Xmas craft fayre – very nice things and I didn’t grumble about Xmas too much (for me). Then delish home cooked dinner at Barbara and Reuben’s beautiful home and nice long country walk on a very sunny Sunday morning before stuffing our faces at the local pub with a traditional Sunday roast. It was a lovely way to spend my last weekend and it is hard to beat the English countryside when the weather and the colours are this spectacular.

And finally the shout out and picture gallery of my friends who made my month in the UK so memorable. Firstly to Lorna who so kindly had me and my two suitcases in her house for the whole time – she is a saint! Then to those who put me up overnight at their abodes – Barbara and Reuben, Susan and Gary, Natasha, Sue, Miriam and Christine. And to all the others who fed and watered me but most importantly reminded me how lucky I am to have them in my life – Cheryl, Rebecca, Becky, Gilly, Chris, Jo, Sylvie, Merrilee, Jill, Mark, Joanna, Len, Jonathan, David, Viv, Peter and Hedy, Alistair and Susanna, Michelle, Nigel and Ellie (and for the eagle eyed, yes that is Yotam Ottolenghi in one photo – best buddies (for five minutes anyway).

And that’s it from the UK for a few months. Next stop – a month in Seville.

USA, New York City – the High Line, Brooklyn Bridge, Architecture tour by boat, Greenwich Village, Billy Joel

Thrilled to be back in New York City – it just always feels like the place I belong to the most. It’s also been great to have my friends Marjory and Michelle visiting from Vancouver and London to join in the fun for my first few days here.

Started the week with a drizzly day walk of the High Line. Especially liked the look of the new Zaha Hadid apartment block that is going up along the route. I hear it is pretty expensive!

Big weather improvement for our walk across the Brooklyn Bridge – it has been a while since I did that and it is still a great way to get to Brooklyn and take those shots looking back at Manhattan.

Then a wonderful architecture tour which almost circumnavigates Manhattan- we had a wonderful day for that and a great guide from the Architectural Association. This skyline keeps changing so you could do this every couple of years and see new things but also find there are some buildings that are getting harder to see as they are dwarfed by others.

And then there was the foodie walk around Greenwich Village.

And to finish this week off we all went to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden. Wow!!

Never any chance to be bored here! Love it.

Bermuda – friends, sea, sand and rum cocktails – and 99th country visited!

Always exciting to visit a new country and even better when you are getting together with old friends – Marjory from Vancouver Island and our hosts Beth and John who I last say 7 years ago.

Bermuda is a charming place to visit – although pricey since everything is imported. First day was a Sunday so the lovely Coral Beach was a must – and it has been ages since I’ve had a beachy lazy day. The weather and sea colours were glorious

Then a visit to St Georges – on another side of the island (which is about 21 square miles). It was the old capital so lots of nice buildings and churches. Also a chance to view some of the pastel coloured houses that are all over the island.

A glass bottom boat tour is a must – we ended up on a huge boat with just six of us – it is the end of the season although the weather was still warm. Shipwrecks and feeding fish were fun – apparently there are a lot of shipwrecks around Bermuda (that triangle had a lot to answer for)

Time in the capital Hamilton enabled us to visit the Hamilton Princess Hotel which has a superb collection of contemporary art – and a chance to see a Kusama pumpkin in a neutral colour.

And then to the Arts Centre which had a Sheridan Fairley exhibit – I have seen some of his street art around the world (Obey campaign) so was thrilled to see this and a very good video with him discussing his art.

And all good vacations include wonderful friends and good food and drinks by the sea – this was no exception. Thanks to Beth John and Marjory for making it extra special.

Portugal, a quick visit to Sintra and catching up with friends

Decided to do the trip to Sintra to see the astonishing Pena Palace – a gothic fairy tale castle kind of place. Too many people as it was a weekend but still pretty impressive as are the views and the interiors.

Best bit of last few days has been visiting Fado (the Portuguese traditional songs the sea and love) and doing that while catching up with visiting friends – Joanna,Peter and Daphne and Mark (will see more of them later this month in the Algarve). Thanks for joining me.

Thailand, Bangkok – museum of Siam, shopping and old friends

Visited the newly renovated Museum of Siam. I enjoyed it but not for the reasons I thought I would. Actually this museum is firmly aimed at Thai youngsters and poses the question “what is Thainess” and how has that evolved? I guess the authorities felt the need to encourage young people here to understand their origins and the changes over the years to help them think about what makes them Thai. That in itself was interesting. Some of their take so “Thainess” is below!

A blessing of living and working all round the world is that I tend to know someonein most places. While in Bangkok I caught up with Panadda who I stayed with but also Chaitanya and Tani (former colleagues from ANZ) and we had a lovely evening dining by the river.

Finally a trip to Bangkok has to include shopping. This is truly a city of malls but also somewhere where “just looking” really means something. Being there on Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year meant that every mall was more decked out than usual. I really liked Zen Mall (very cool gadgets and they even sell drones as well as Emporium and Em Quartier. See what a mall should look like below

also many malls include a shrine nearby so you pray and shop within metres of each other